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Lunch 'n Learn presentation: Major progress in magnetic fusion research has led to ITER – a multi-billion dollar burning plasma experiment supported by seven governments (EU, Japan, US, China, Korea, Russia, and India) representing over half of the world’s population. Currently under construction in Cadarache, France, it is designed to produce 500 million Watts of heat from fusion reactions for over 400 seconds with gain exceeding 10 – thereby demonstrating the scientific and technical feasibility of magnetic fusion energy. It is a truly dramatic step forward in that the fusion fuel will be sustained at high temperature by the fusion reactions themselves. Data from experiments worldwide, supported by advanced computation, indicate that ITER is likely to achieve its design performance. Indeed, temperatures in existing experiments have already exceeded what is needed for ITER. While many of the technologies used in ITER will be the same as those required in an actual demonstration power plant (DEMO), further science and technology is needed to achieve the 2500 MW of continuous power with a gain of 25 in a device of similar size and field.Strong R & D programs are needed to harvest the scientific knowledge from ITER and leverage its results. Advanced computations in tandem with experiment and theory are essential in this mission. The associated research demands the accelerated development of computational tools and techniques that aid the acquisition of the scientific understanding needed to develop predictive models which can prove superior to extrapolations of experimental results. This is made possible by access to leadership class computing resources which allow simulations of increasingly complex phenomena with greater physics fidelity. Reliable whole-device modeling capabilities in Fusion Energy Sciences will surely demand computing resources at the petascale (10^15 floating point operations per second) range and beyond to address ITER burning plasma issues. This provides the key motivation for the Fusion Simulation Program (FSP) – a new U.S. Department of Energy initiative supported by its Offices of Fusion Energy Science and Advanced Scientific Computing Research -- that is currently in the program definition/planning phase. Even more powerful supercomputers at the “exascale” (10^18 floating point operations per second) range and beyond will be needed to meet the future challenges of designing a demonstration fusion reactor (DEMO). With ITER and leadership class computing being two of the most prominent current missions of the U.S. Department of Energy, whole device integrated modeling, which can achieve the highest possible physics fidelity, is a most worthy exascale-relevant project for producing a world-leading realistic predictive capability for fusion. This should prove to be of major benefit to U.S. strategic considerations for Energy, Ecological Sustainability, and Global Security. Further info: http://blogs.princeton.edu/itsacademic/2010/03/simulations_at_the_petascale_and_beyond_for_fusion_energy_sciences.html